CD, Thisco, 2007
Slow Soldier’s “New Under The Volt” is an album equally suited for a IDM dancefloor mix, a breakneck road trip or a urban commute amongst wires, concrete, steel and the omnipresent haze of artificial light.
With tonal qualities reminiscent of 8-bit video gaming, the album gives the listener the feeling of being immersed in the soundtrack that should have been to the arcade games of the eighties. Furthermore tribal influences abound, seamlessly weaving the digital divide into a neon jungle that even “Donkey Kong” would be proud to call home and there are clear hints of a rhythmic noise and electro-industrial character, detectable in the sometimes subtle use of distortion and syncopation within. This combination of styles impresses a feeling of unity throughout, nevertheless avoiding uniformity in the sheer range and variety of tracks.
At times the repetition of samples can become monotonous but it stops short of being discordant, eventually retreating again into a coalescent progression. Moreover the artist clearly extended intensive effort in layering this album with each sound distinctly presenting itself without being distant or muddled. With skillful use of delays, panning and reverb which all too easily can become cacophonous, Slow Soldier manages to create a spacious environment while preserving the intricate melodic and cohesive structures intended. However, often low end and bass frequencies are not fully realized giving some tracks a tinny and often unfinished feel. This can be mostly compensated for with proper equalization but should have drawn greater consideration in the mastering stage.
Despite its drawbacks you will find yourself nodding your head congruously with each successive listen. Even the most cynical ear will find tracks that they admire academically, emotively empathy and drift dreamily with. And, just when you think have heard everything this album has to offer, you stumble upon the tongue-in-cheek video locked within its recesses. Tinging this release with a new color of humor and quite possibly an excess of insight into its authors. If you have grown tired of banal beats and similar sounds then “New Under The Volt” is the refreshing break that you are looking for: particular, pleasurable and worthy of partaking.
— George Caruso